Monday, 2 September 2013

Syria: Part 1

Notion 1 - North Atlantic governments are so powerful that together with their propaganda arm ‘the western media’ can lie and illegally destroy nations, depose governments, and indefinitely detain individuals on a whim and without any merit.

Or so believe people like George Galloway and the alternative mainstream media such as RT (Russia Today) and PressTV. And yet no axis was powerful enough to plant Weapons of Mass Destructions in Iraq (WMD’s) and then sell that fake story to the ‘sheep’ using the ‘controlled’ press.

Notion 2 - There is NO accountability in the world. Bush invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and yet he roams free.

Bush might be free but his name and legacy are toxic. More than being imprisoned, he ruined his ultra-conservative Republican Party, an assertion given weight by Obama’s (a Democrat) reelection under a very difficult domestic economic climate. 

Owing to Bush’s political incompetence, the trigger happy and draconian arm of aggressive US interventionist policy has been subverted and replaced with a much more measured administration. Moreover unlike Iraq, aggression against Afghanistan was never condemned by the United Nations but rather embraced by the Security Council most tellingly with Resolution 1378. Even Russia - the last bastion of human rights, democracy and free speech - supports NATO operations in Afghanistan since 2009.

All things being equal, only a fool wouldn’t mind living next to an on-the-loose serial murderer or do business with an impulsive liar. Those amongst you categorically against any intervention in any country for any reason should raise your hands and be counted as pacifists, not as genuinely concerned citizens of the world.

Notion 3 - America think they are the world police. They think they can control the world. They treat sovereign nations like it’s their own backyard. Police are corrupt. Police are bad.

Police are definitely bad, well… until you need them that is.

The problem with a world without any police in them is a significant one. Question is, how to enforce laws when not only is there no penalty for only selectively abiding by them but adversely, when breaking them brings enticing advantages. Of course this carries with it the presupposition that we are in fact better off building our civilizations on laws. 

Fact is some people do prefer anarchy (limited or otherwise). Unless you’re an anarchist then you should, in principle at least, agree that laws need to be backed up by some form of intimidating threat of physical action (be it bombing or jailing).

Notion 4 - Why should America act like world police when that role could just as easily be handled by the United Nations Security Council; the most powerful lawful body in the world.

As a prerequisite it has to be said that enforcing current international laws - something which discourages bad behavior by states - is a challenge.  But compounding that problem is the fact that the UN Security Council chooses corrective law enforcement action only based on political considerations rather than legal ones. 

To see the problem with this setup, let me put it into perspective. If our societies were governed by the way the UNSC is structured today then cases of theft, rape or murder would only be going to trial if all the major judges involved in the case deemed it, for personal reasons, worthy to be pursued irrespective of if there was insurmountable evidence proving the case. The way things are today, enforcement action against rogue governments is not triggered automatically but rather by the veto wielding super powers. The status quo is a compromised system with the primary objective being to maintain world security rather than chasing justice for groups or states.

As flawed as it may be, the UNSC is one of the hallmarks of human progress. It took the world thousands of years to reach to this point of cooperation. But progress has stalled and at a time of crisis the organization is showing its age with cracks abound and creaking. If findings by the UN team of Sarin gas use on August 21st in Ghouta ring true, then where does it leave the credibility of the UNSC?

The story goes: 2.5 years of conflict, 100,000+ people dead, multiple case use of chemical weapons and yet crucially not a single Security Council resolution saying anything negative against the Assad administration since the uprising began in early 2011. Not a word. According to the United Nations Security Council, there was more happening in Cyprus in the past 2.5 years (with more resolutions approved than Syria).

So although the United Nations Security Council may be the highest lawful body in the world, but on other hand law has its limits as was the case with slavery once upon a time being lawful and homosexuality still being banned in certain countries today. 

Should the United Nation Security Council handle Syria? Well that would be nice for sure but apparently nobody’s been home for nearly 3 years now. The question facing countries which have the capability to intervene without the backing of a gridlocked UNSC is: “Shall we do something or shall we sit idly as the slaughter continues”.

For most people of the world the only answer is loud and clear: “Not my problem”.

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